Biggest waste of film gear money?

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GalinMcMahon

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Biggest waste of film gear money?

PostThu Aug 11, 2022 4:23 pm

OK, I like to have good things. I paid extra for my TVs because they have like quantum dots or whatever so they must be noticeably better (right??) I didn't pay 10 times as much though because that would be silly. Why is film gear so much different? A few examples:

Tiffen is selling a Glidecam arm. Just the arm. No vest. No Glidecam. The arm. Two springs and some fulcrum points. They are advertising it for $14,225.00 (aka an ursa 12k fully rigged with a lens.) I bought one with a vest for about $150. Two springs and some fulcrum points. Paid 95 times less.

B&H has a Matthews sand bag for $34. For a bag. Of sand. Its sole purpose is to be heavy. I bought 4 bags on Amazon for $22.99 then grabbed a bag of sand at Home Depot for a few bucks. They are heavy. I toss them around and they're still in perfect condition. Paid about 4 times less. I don't hang my head in shame because they don't have a Matthews logo on the side. They're bags of sand.

Of course lights and lenses and things can justify their cost differences. But are we being willingly ripped off with certain things?
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Brad Hurley

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Re: Biggest waste of film gear money?

PostThu Aug 11, 2022 4:52 pm

GalinMcMahon wrote:I bought one with a vest for about $150.


Hey could you tell me where you bought a Glidecam vest+arm for $150? That's a good deal. :-) I already have a Glidecam.

In general I feel that cine gear tends to get marked up more due to big budgets in the industry and purchases by rental houses.
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GalinMcMahon

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Re: Biggest waste of film gear money?

PostThu Aug 11, 2022 7:51 pm

I got it used. Actually included a Glidecam 4000(?) too. A little scratched up but fully functional. I stuck my gimbal on the end and now I have some seriously buttery footage, even while running :)
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Brad Hurley

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Re: Biggest waste of film gear money?

PostThu Aug 11, 2022 10:22 pm

GalinMcMahon wrote:I got it used. Actually included a Glidecam 4000(?) too. A little scratched up but fully functional. I stuck my gimbal on the end and now I have some seriously buttery footage, even while running :)


Nice, I'm jealous; I'll keep an eye out. I have the arm brace (basically like a plaster cast for your arm with a little round rod sticking out that fits in the bottom of the Glidecam handle, but despite a few years of weight training it's still hard for me to maintain stamina with the thing...and my rig is not very heavy. The vest and mechanical arm should be much better.
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Ellory Yu

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Re: Biggest waste of film gear money?

PostFri Aug 12, 2022 5:43 am

GalinMcMahon wrote:OK, I like to have good things. I paid extra for my TVs because they have like quantum dots or whatever so they must be noticeably better (right??) I didn't pay 10 times as much though because that would be silly. Why is film gear so much different?

It’s economics 101 - supply and demand. Usually consumer goods are sold in masses therefore the price can be a lot less because manufacturing cost + margin / number of goods sold = price of goods.

For example, using the formula above, let’s say for the sake of argument that a consumer Disposal film camera X and a Cine film camera Y cost the same to manufacture. X has a market demand of 10000 buyers while Y has a market demand of 1000 buyers. Both adds a margin of 10%. So if the cost of manufacturing either cameras is $100000 and profit margin is $10000, then the manufacturer cost to produce either cameras will be $110000. Now, if X=10000, then each Disposal film camera can be sold for $11 each; but since Y=1000, then each Cine film camera can be sold for $110.

So for film gear to be cheaper there needs to be so much more demand. However in my example above, more consumer who goes to an amusement park and need a cheap camera can just get a disposable one for $11 and the potential for such sale is very high. Meanwhile, there is a limited number of cinematographers who needs a Cine camera hence demand is not there lowering the amount of the supply. Nevertheless, regardless of which camera, the cost of manufacturing and profit margin is the same.

Your TV, albeit the best on the market, is cheaper because they manufactured many of them to meet a huge consumer demand; while film gear is expensive, even if it cost the same to manufacture as your TV, because the demand is much lesser.

I hope this makes sense.
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Brad Hurley

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Re: Biggest waste of film gear money?

PostFri Aug 12, 2022 2:20 pm

Ellory Yu wrote:It’s economics 101 - supply and demand. Usually consumer goods are sold in masses therefore the price can be a lot less because manufacturing cost + margin / number of goods sold = price of goods.


It's more complicated than that, though.

Cine lenses, for example, must meet much higher standards for things like focus breathing, accurate t-stops, etc. compared with photographic lenses, so even if demand were 1,000 times higher the price would still be higher compared with photo lenses.

Supply and demand also doesn't explain why name-brand sandbags are so expensive; they're just trying to find suckers who will pay for convenience or a brand name. And sometimes having a recognized name brand on your gear makes you look more professional, so people are willing to pay a premium for it. I saw a post once by a guy who used cheap audio recording equipment but put a Nagra label over the brand name so his clients would think he was using high-end gear.

And I suspect manufacturers and suppliers of some cine gear set higher margins just because they know industry budgets can support it.
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Leon Benzakein

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Re: Biggest waste of film gear money?

PostFri Aug 12, 2022 2:46 pm

For those that were not around when the dinosaurs roamed the earth, there was a time when the cost of owning your own camera to shoot for high end and broadcast standard video was equal to owning a home.

The idea was to rent as you needed.
Facility houses would sweeten the deal by offering crews with high end gear at reasonable prices if you would do the post at their facility.
The facility houses would be the ones carrying the cost of keeping up with the Joneses and having the latest gear, at that time being mostly Sony.

The same thing was true of camera support, lighting and grip equipment. Only the big rental and facility houses could afford the latest and greatest equipment.

How things have changed.

The imagination is now the limit. There is no longer an excuse to put out sub par productions.

I find it interesting that you still pay for sand. :D
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Ellory Yu

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Re: Biggest waste of film gear money?

PostSat Aug 13, 2022 7:37 am

Leon Benzakein wrote:
I find it interesting that you still pay for sand. :D

Just get a bunch of volunteer PAs to hold the tripods and stands. They’re free… cheaper than sand. :lol:
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Leon Benzakein

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Re: Biggest waste of film gear money?

PostSat Aug 13, 2022 2:42 pm

Ellory Yu wrote:
Leon Benzakein wrote:
I find it interesting that you still pay for sand. :D

Just get a bunch of volunteer PAs to hold the tripods and stands. They’re free… cheaper than sand. :lol:


At the risk of sounding abusive.
Is this what is regarded as automated, if the PAs move the stands and is there an APP for that? :ugeek:
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Mike Conway

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Re: Biggest waste of film gear money?

PostThu Sep 08, 2022 11:10 am

Leon Benzakein wrote:For those that were not around when the dinosaurs roamed the earth, there was a time when the cost of owning your own camera to shoot for high end and broadcast standard video was equal to owning a home.


Oh, you mean like RED cameras. :lol:

I guess I'm only partially joking, because l am a tight wad filmmaker. In 89', I shot a feature with the Sankyo XL620 Super 8 film camera, whose footage I had transferred via Rank Cintel to 1" Broadcast tape. For the next one, I bought a couple of used Canon Scoopic 16mm film cameras, for $500 and $700. (Kept Daylight in one, Tungsten in the other.) That $700 one was my most expensive camera in a 23 year span! :mrgreen:

But, to your point, I was shooting a feature with the DVX100, in 2004. My buddy came over to shoot a behind the scenes' doc. He was following me around with his $90,000 Sony Cinealta, which looked ridiculous, next to me holding the DVX. He had another 200K in editing gear. Along with that camera, his equipment was double what I paid for my house.

Same thing with computers and synths. People can get cheap or free VSTs now, where back in the day, a Fairlight sampler was 40K, and a Synclavier was up to 200K.
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Steve Fishwick

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Re: Biggest waste of film gear money?

PostSat Sep 10, 2022 3:33 pm

GalinMcMahon wrote:B&H has a Matthews sand bag for $34. For a bag. Of sand. Its sole purpose is to be heavy. I bought 4 bags on Amazon for $22.99 then grabbed a bag of sand at Home Depot for a few bucks. They are heavy. I toss them around and they're still in perfect condition. Paid about 4 times less. I don't hang my head in shame because they don't have a Matthews logo on the side. They're bags of sand.

Of course lights and lenses and things can justify their cost differences. But are we being willingly ripped off with certain things?


Like your style! Try grading reference monitors that don't even properly reach grade A specs and still cost £5,000 though they are often only HD and 17" or at best 24", especially when you then buy your £500 40" 4K HDR consumer client monitor, calibrate it and realise it gives the little thing a good run for it's money. This is why BMD don't deserve the flack they get, at times - hell we could buy 2 or 3 in case one or two breaks before we mortgage ourselves in smugness, with 'better pro gear'. :lol:
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DavisJones

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Re: Biggest waste of film gear money?

PostSun Sep 18, 2022 4:12 pm

i have found no bigger waste than these wheels: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/ ... nitor.html
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John Brawley

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Re: Biggest waste of film gear money?

PostSat Oct 01, 2022 1:26 am

GalinMcMahon wrote:
Tiffen is selling a Glidecam arm. Just the arm. No vest. No Glidecam. The arm. Two springs and some fulcrum points. They are advertising it for $14,225.00 (aka an ursa 12k fully rigged with a lens.) I bought one with a vest for about $150. Two springs and some fulcrum points. Paid 95 times less.



Hate to be THAT guy, especially when your thread is making a point, but it helps to understand too what you're paying for. I think you've confused some of the brands and models and that may also lead to some understanding about what you're paying for....

Tiffen DO NOT sell Glidecams. Tiffen are the exclusive agent however, for Steadicam, which is the original body stabilising rig. They make Steadicam including all the very high end models that can carry an Imax camera down....

So you're saying, hey I bought an arm, a competing brand to Steadicam from the very company that make the original without really understanding what you're kind of comparing to...there are many models of Steadicam (and glide cam) and it's all about the weight and engineering.

Glidecam are one of the more expensive Steadicam copies and have actually bee around a long time...

They really aren't the same as you're inferring with your $150 drive vs $14225. By the way you can pay a lot more for an arm than that too. You weren't looking hard enough. GPI make a "pro" arm that's more like $25K for the arm and that's more, you have to use interchangeable canisters to change the payload...not very convenient....and yet that's the model arm I see more operators using than any other....
https://www.gpiprosystems.com/titan-arm

We see the same things with Easyrigs. The original has many imitators that are 1/10th of the price.....

Film gear is very expensive. No doubt. Usually it's because the volume is quite small, but the precision needs to be quite high especially when dealing with precision optics or cameras.

Lighting for sure is one area where you can quickly spend a lot but if you're canny, you can often get great results without having to spend a lot.

I for one would never buy an Arri orbiter light, though they seem pretty fantastic with what they can do....

I think there's often nothing more flattering than a couple of paper lanterns from a $2 shop as a key light....

JB
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Leon Benzakein

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Re: Biggest waste of film gear money?

PostSat Oct 01, 2022 3:23 pm

John Brawley wrote:I think there's often nothing more flattering than a couple of paper lanterns from a $2 shop as a key light....

JB


I like your thinking. :idea:
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